Canberra United finished the Westfield W-League season undefeated at home after a 0-0 draw with Premiers Melbourne Victory on Tuesday night.
Taren King was a late replacement for Ellie Carpenter in the starting lineup after the latter had taken ill during the week, while Ash Sykes started for the first time this season.
The already rescheduled round 12 match was delayed 30 minutes due to lightning following warmups, and the opening exchanges had a cagey feel as both teams got used to warm but wet conditions.
Victory were forced into an early change as Lia Privitelli was helped from the ground after a heavy collision with Rosie Galea, who was making her first Westfield W-League start in midfield.
Privitelli was replaced by Gielnik, but it was the hosts who almost went ahead as Ash Sykes’ cross from the right was headed just wide by an energetic Rhoda Mulaudzi.
United continued to put pressure on the Victory and when Refiloe Jane curled an effort over shortly after, it was the culmination of excellent build up play that saw a number of chances denied by the Victory defense.
Victory were looking dangerous up front as well though, with Gielnik sliding an effort wide of Sham Khamis’ goal at the end of a quick counter attack and Grace Maher did the same past the other post six minutes later.
Nicki Flannery had a penalty shout turned down before the half and the two teams remained locked scoreless at the break after an enthralling 45 minutes.
The second half had a stronger beginning, both teams having chances early as first Melina Ayers and then Flannery fired over in quick succession.
Mulaudzi had the chance to break free towards goal as the game entered its final half hour only to be cynically dragged down by Alex Gummer, and Rachel Corsie struck a fierce free-kick that forced a save from Casey Dumont.
As the game wore on and the hosts piled on more pressure Victory continued to keep them out, but Galea almost opened the scoring with a stunning effort from way out that beat Dumont only to be denied by the crossbar.
Lauren Keir, Maddy Whittall and Maria Jose Rojas were all introduced in the second half as Heather Garriock put her foot to the floor, but despite the sheer weight of chances it was not to be as a goal didn’t eventuate inside the frantic final minutes.